On day one of his administration, President Joe Biden took decisive action to reshape the nation’s immigration policy by outlining a plan for comprehensive immigration reform, issuing no less than eight immigration related executive actions, and releasing a full legislative proposal with House Democrats that sets the stage for a vote next week on the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA).
On Sunday, February 14th, 2021, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla of California was named chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee and is the first Latino to hold the seat. According to a statement, Senator Padilla plans to restore humanity, dignity and respect to the immigration process and to that end, has renamed the committee over which he presides "Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and Border Safety." This subcommittee presides over such matters as citizenship, border safety, refugee laws and oversight of immigration functions in various departments, including the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Even before President Biden was elected, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained or turned away almost 300,000 foreign nationals at the Southwest border between October 2020 and January 2021, a 79% increase compared with the same period in 2019-20. Many migrants traveling to the U.S border are seeking asylum, a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or arriving at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” The United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol define a refugee as a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980.
- Gabriela Pinto Vega, Owner, GPV IMMIGRATION LAW.
- Luis Guerra, Strategic Capacity Officer, CLINIC.
- Peter Schey, Founder and President, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
- Roxana Damas, Founder, Alquimia Global; and Founder and CEO, RGD Enterprises, Inc.
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